Date of this Version
SPECIALTY GRAND CHALLENGE ARTICLE December 2013
Condensed Matter Physics (CMP) explores the fundamental properties of matter and their origins resulting from the interactions of a large number of atoms and electrons. The intricate nature of these interactions results in properties and associated phenomena that often hint at a rich vein of underlying physics. Although the perspective is changing constantly with new discoveries, the basic challenges in CMP are to predict and observe new phenomena and elucidate novel properties of materials often pushing at the frontiers of quantum mechanics .
CMP is also a field which stimulates technological innovation that revolutionizes modern society. For more than five decades, the engine of CMP has largely been driven by semiconductor industry. Probably the most notable example is the invention of the transistor which was recognized by the 1956 Nobel Prize in Physics given to William Shockley, John Bardeen, and Walter Brattain. The transistor-a basic building block of modern electronic devices-was a result of innovative research in the field of semiconductors. The transistor and the invention of the integrated circuit in 1958 was the starting point for exponential increase in the computational power known as Moore's law  There is a persistent interplay between the fundamental science and technological applications which provides breadth to CMP.
One cannot possibly give full justice to the entire range of CMP problems that now command the attention of the condensed matter and materials physics community. Therefore, rather than even try, in this short essay we point out a few fundamental problems of major importance whose solution would further expand our understanding and Knowledge, while also mentioning some emerging functional properties of materials where the associated potential applications could foster the technological Innovation.